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JUST IN: Real Madrid Win La Liga Title

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Real Madrid won La Liga on Saturday after beating Cadiz 3-0 before Girona defeated last year’s champions Barcelona 4-2 to seal Los Blancos’ triumph.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side did their homework against the Andalucian stragglers to virtually guarantee a record-extending 36th Spanish title, confirmed when Barcelona dropped points at Montilivi.

Girona’s dramatic victory saw the Catalan minnows qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history.

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Brahim Diaz netted in the 51st minute to put Madrid ahead and then set up Jude Bellingham for the second, with Joselu tapping home a third to leave Madrid on the cusp of the title.

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“We leave our skins out there on the pitch to live moments like today’s, we are so close to the league,” Joselu told Real Madrid TV.

There are young players who are very hungry for titles, veterans who are delighted to be here… and these are special moments.”

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Ancelotti played a heavily rotated side ahead of the Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The coach selected only captain Nacho Fernandez from the starting line-up that earned a 2-2 draw in Bavaria this week.

Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois started for the first time after a nine-month lay off after a knee injury and kept a clean sheet.

Madrid midfielder Luka Modric became the oldest player to appear for the club in La Liga, at 38 years and 238 days, breaking late Hungarian great Ferenc Puskas’ record from 1965 by five days.

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READ ALSO: BREAKING: Arsenal Face Bayern As City Draw Madrid In UCL Quarter-finals

Madrid striker Joselu came close to reaching a dangerous cross and Chris Ramos fired off target for the visitors in an otherwise slow start at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ruben Sobrino barged his way past Eder Militao on the counter-attack after half an hour but Nacho slid in well to thwart him as he prepared to shoot.

The visitors, 18th and still battling to stay up, shaded the first half, although Dani Ceballos had a shot blocked after Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma went walkabout at a corner.

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– ‘Waiting for this day’ –

Courtois made a superb save to deny Ramos early in the second half and his team took the lead immediately afterwards.

The Cadiz striker shook free of Nacho and ran in on goal but Courtois produced a superb save.

READ ALSO: Injury Crisis ‘Can Motivate Us’, Says Real Madrid Boss Ancelotti

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Moments later Diaz sent Madrid ahead, receiving from the evergreen Modric on the edge of the area, turning slickly and curling an effort into the top corner.

Thibaut is the best in the world, he’s had a terrible season and we were waiting for this day to come,” added Joselu.

Bellingham, on as a substitute for Turkish teenager Arda Guler, added the second soon after entering the fray.

Modric and Diaz combined well, with the latter squaring for Bellingham to put the finishing touch on a fine team move.

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It was the England international’s 18th league goal of the season, keeping him in contention to finish as the top scorer.

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Madrid put the cherry on their cake after a superb run by Nacho.

Poised to depart at the end of the season, the Spaniard was hailed by the Bernabeu after setting up Joselu for a simple finish in stoppage time.

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Los Blancos could celebrate after Girona came from behind twice to defeat Barcelona for the second time this season in a thrilling derby.

Barcelona took the lead through Andreas Christensen but La Liga’s top scorer Artem Dovbyk levelled with his 20th goal of the campaign.

Robert Lewandowski’s penalty sent Barcelona ahead but substitute Portu made a huge impact in the second half for Girona.

The winger netted the equaliser and then set up Miguel Gutierrez to put Girona ahead.

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Portu sensationally volleyed home the fourth to ignite Girona’s tiny Montilivi stadium and get the party started.

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CAF Women Champions League: Edo Queens Get Hero’s Welcome, Obaseki Doles Out Cash Reward On Team

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Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (right); his wife, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki (2nd left); Chairman, Edo Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli (left), with players of Edo Queens, during a celebration in honour of the victorious Edo Queens, at the Government House, Benin City, Thursday, May 30, 2024.

The Edo State female football team, Edo Queens, were on Thursday warmly welcomed back to the state amid pomp and pageantry by thousands of fans and other residents after they made history with their triumph at the Super Six Playoffs to clinch a ticket to represent Nigeria on the continental stage of the CAF Women Champions League.

The jubilant fans, led by the Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, joined a motorcade of the victorious Edo Queens from Western Boys High School, in Ikpoba-Hill and cheered the team through Aduwawa, Akpakpava, Plymouth, Ring Road and terminated at the Government House, Benin City, where they were received by Governor Obaseki.

Obaseki was joined by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Asue Ighodalo, and other top government officials to receive the triumphant girls where he doled out cash reward on the victorious team.

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The governor, who praised the team for their excellent campaign at the 2023/2024 season of the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) and victory at the Super Six Tournament, assured them of the state government’s sustained support.

READ ALSO: Kenyatta, Weah, Sultan, Others Storm Benin For GJF Annual Democracy Dialogue

He said, “I am so happy and proud today as you have done us proud by bringing this trophy home. The trophy we have been looking for in the past 29 years is now with us. We know you will continue to be champions. I encourage you to work hard as your government and Governor will continue to support you.

“Whether I am here or not, the person that will replace me will continue to support you. You have tried and have made us proud. Money alone can’t do it all but we will give you money for a job well done and for making us proud.”

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He stated, “Each player of the team will get one million naira (N1,000,000.00) for the achievement, while the coaches will get five million naira (N5,000,000.00).”

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Lookman, Boniface, Other Nigerian Footballers Who Won Major Trophies In Europe

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Super Eagles forward Ademola Lookman won the UEFA Europa League with Italian side Atalanta last Wednesday, capping off what many have described as a fairly successful football season for Nigerian footballers in Europe.

Lookman’s success comes on the back of victories for Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella, who were part of Bayer Leverkusen’s ‘invincibles’ squad in the Bundesliga.

Here is a list of Nigerian players who tasted glory with their clubs in Europe in the 2023–24 season.

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Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen)

Victor Boniface and Nathan were part of the Leverkusen side that won the Bundesliga title for the first time in the club’s history. Xabi Alonso’s side won the league, becoming the first team in the competition’s history to go unbeaten in a season.

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Boniface scored 14 goals and registered 8 assists; Tella, on the other hand, scored 5 goals and provided 2 assists for Leverkusen. The club missed out on an unprecedented treble after a 3-0 loss to Ademola Lookman’s Atalanta in the Europa League final. Days later, Leverkusen lifted the DFB Pokal.

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Ademola Lookman (Atalanta)

Lookman was the hero for Atalanta, scoring a hat-trick in the final as the team defeated Bayer Leverkusen to win its first-ever European trophy.

Lookman also added 10 goals in the league as La Dea finished fourth in the Serie A.

Peter Olayinka (Red Star Belgrade)

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The 28-year-old forward played the entire duration of Red Star Belgrade’s 2-1 win over Vojvodina in the Serbian Cup Final.

He also scored a brace for his side in a 4-1 win over Cukaricki to win the Serbian Super League title. He joined Boniface and Tella as the only Nigerian footballers to win the double.

Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanachio (Leicester City)

In the English Championship, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho helped Leicester earn a return to the Premier League.

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Ndidi scored 5 goals and recorded 5 assists, while Iheanacho, who saw limited gametime, scored 5 times for the Foxes.

William Troost-Ekong (PAOK FC)

In Greece, Supeer Eagles defender William Troost Ekong returned from injury to help his side clinch the Greek Super League title.

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Ekong was crowned the best player of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), as Nigeria finished as runners-up in the tournament.

Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge)

Raphael Onyedika featured 30 times and scored three goals as Club Brugge clinched the Belgian League.

Christy Ucheibe (Christy Uchebe)

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In addition to the men’s team, Christy Ucheibe, the midfield powerhouse of the Super Falcons, secured four trophies in Portugal.

Her team S. L. Benfica won the Liga BPI (Portuguese league), Taca de Portugal Feminina (Portuguese Women’s Cup), Taca de Liga Feminina (Portuguese Women’s League Cup), and the Super Taca de Portugal Feminina (Portuguese Women’s Super Cup).

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Joy As NFF Gifts Super Eagles Coach, Finidi George Car Worth N125m

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has presented the newly appointed Super Eagles coach, Finidi George, an official luxurious Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon car worth N125m

The gift is part of the NFF’s commitment to prioritizing the welfare of its employees, ensuring they receive the best treatment to excel in their roles.

READ ALSO: AFCON: ‘Nigeria Thirsty For Victory’ – Sports Minister Charges NFF, Peseiro

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The NFF’s gesture is seen as a demonstration of its dedication to supporting its employees and ensuring their well-being.

Reacting, Finidi George expressed gratitude to the NFF for their generosity, and confirmed that the federation is actively searching for a good apartment for him in the country’s capital.

 

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